Moral Burdens: Iraq and the Ghosts of 1956

So don’t be like all those people who could have saved themselves by their own efforts, but who abandoned their realistic hopes and turned in their hour of need to invisible powers–to prophecies and oracles and all the other nonsense that conspires with hope to ruin you.

—The Athenians to the Melians in Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War

[O]ut in the West we always used to consider it a cardinal sin to draw a revolver and brandish it about unless the man meant to shoot. And it is apt to turn out to be sheer cruelty to encourage men by words and not back them by deeds.
—Teddy Roosevelt, explaining limits on the U.S. response to a pogrom against Jews in Kishinev

In America and the World, the recently published conversations between Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, the two former national security advisors speak to what is perhaps the most vexed foreign policy question before the new president: can the U.S. exit Iraq without wreckage becoming our legacy there?

Brzezinski argues that we will be stuck “indefinitely” if we wait for Iraq to become “stable and secular or whatever.” In his view—the discussion took place in Spring 2008—the U.S. military presence is now “perpetuating the problem.” In any event, he notes, Iraqi Kurdistan is semi-autonomous, Sunnis control much of the country’s middle, and Shiite militias dominate the south. When Scowcroft points out, “they’re fighting each other,” Brzezinski responds, “Fine, that’s their problem.” He acknowledges that “there may have to be a mini-civil war” following a U.S. departure, but “after some skirmishing, there will be an internal accommodation.”

Scowcroft distinguishes his own negative judgment of the war’s launch in 2003 from his reckoning about how we ought to cope with the war’s thorny consequences. Americans should make clear that we want to help Iraqis by saying “we can get out to the degree that you all get your act together.” Otherwise, Middle East powers may say: “First, you made the mess; now you’ve run and left it in our hands.” Both Scowcroft and Brzezinski argue in broadly “realist” terms, albeit with different political inflections. (Brzezinski says he doesn’t identify wholly with “realism.”) Neither seems overly concerned about the consequences of internal violence in Iraq. This dismissive tenor evokes that of an interview Brzezinski gave a decade ago to the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur about the arming of Islamists against the Soviets during the Carter presidency. When asked about the invigoration of religious fundamentalists who might one day target the West, Brzezinski responded, “What is more important for world history? Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some energized Islamists or the liberation of central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Cold War with the Soviet Union and hot war with Saddam Hussein are distinct matters, but there is not much moral distance between Brzezinski’s approach in 1998 and his formulation for today’s Iraq: whether Americans engage you rightly or wrongly, he seems to say, you are a pawn. The practical perils embedded in these sorts of formulations should be fairly evident. It is difficult to see how, after the last six years, and whatever accords have been reached recently between Baghdad and Washington, we should not fret about worst case scenarios in Iraq. Civil war, mini or maxi, is not a Middle Eastern impossibility. It is easy to imagine the Kurds declaring independence should their current autonomy lose its protective cover. Turkey, fearful of implications for its own Kurdish minority, might invade and trigger all sorts of regional turmoil. Iran might find strife within Iraq preferable to the country’s stabilization as an Arab power. The human costs of such unhappy turns could be horrific, even more so than the original ill-planned American war and injudicious democracy-making. And these costs would be a direct consequence of U.S. action.

Were I a Kurd, I might worry about the extent to which Brzezinski’s attitude is representative of many Americans. This would be the trepidation of a member of a small, perpetually vulnerable people who knows that Americans have become justifiably tired of a war that went wrong in so many ways and whose rationales were so tainted. I might register how Scowcroft tends to be charier than Brzezinski about a swift pull-out, but also worry that his concern appears to be mostly practical. I might recall that Scowcroft was Henry Kissinger’s deputy when the Kurds revolted against Baath-ruled Iraq in the 1970s, with backing principally from Tehran and Washington. After the Shah made a deal with Baghdad, the Kurds were left to slaughter. Kissinger’s memoirs blame Iran’s ruler for the murderous aftermath, but explain that “in terms of a cold-blooded assessment of Iran’s security, the Shah’s decision was as understandable as it was painful.”

If I were a Kurd, I might also recall that American and British leaders made public statements in the lead-up to and during the Gulf War of 1991 suggesting the good that might come of insurrections against Saddam Hussein. When Kurds (and Shiites) rose up, no help came. Scowcroft was central in restricting the war’s aim to evicting Iraq from Kuwait. This expulsion was a good in itself, and the limit made considerable sense from an American point of view. But while the Iraqi regime was indeed contained, Kurds and Shiites were left in the container.

This is not an argument for or against particular U.S. strategies and moves then or today; it is an attempt to complicate morally how we think about them, or at least one dimension of them. If you bill yourself as a hard “realist” in your approach to foreign policy—that is, if you think Washington should make only “tough,” narrowly conceived, geo-strategic calculations of “national interest,” and pretty much bracket anything that might be called “values,” then you will have little use for such an exercise. Nor will you have any more use for it if you consider yourself an unwavering idealist—that is, if you think values alone can determine politics, that they never conflict with other vital but perhaps foul imperatives, or if you think that the character of a regime determines entirely how it defines its interests. But if you think foreign policy, say that of the United States, must entail an unfortunate, messy combination of these outlooks, and that the mix depends significantly on particular circumstances, then perhaps what follows will help clarify a little-examined category in wartime: the ethics of exhortation.

Consider, then, two scenarios. Presented in somewhat imaginary form, their historical bases will be evident enough.

A Powerful Country vies globally with a Formidable Rival. Their competition began just after a vast war, perhaps the worst humanity has known. In it, a common threat made them allies. But their interests diverge and so too their worldviews. Now they lead opposed blocs—call one the West and the other the East—in a standoff on a vital continent. Both have fearsome weapons. They prick each other verbally, yet neither wants war and so they respect, at least physically, each other’s turf.

In the middle of the continent sits a small Unhappy Land. It was ingested into the East Bloc against its will. It lives, like all Bloc members, under one-party rule, and the Party shares the official “scientific” worldview of the Formidable Rival. Unfortunately, many citizens remain unscientific. So a secret police patrols life.

The Powerful Country that leads the West wages “information wars” against the East in the name of freedom. The Formidable Rival campaigns on behalf of its official ideology. The leader of the Powerful Country—call him a President—is a former general. He doesn’t always approve of the rhetoric of his own Foreign Minister—let’s call him a “Secretary of State”—who is known for his Manichean worldview. The Secretary of State calls for “roll back” of the East Bloc or to “liberate” its “captive nations”—but “peacefully.” He hopes, he says, to give the Formidable Rival “indigestion” by stirring up problems within its sphere of influence. Attitudes like his often inform “Radio Free All” (RFA), which was established by the Powerful Country’s intelligence services to broadcast into the East news and calls for liberation.

Unrest begins late one autumn. Reform currents had emerged recently throughout the East Bloc, and demonstrators march for peaceful reform in the capital of the Unhappy Land. The worried ruling Party turns to a popular figure—let’s call him the Reformer—in the hope that things may be calmed. His public esteem is due to an earlier, brief tenure in which he modified some “scientific” policies. The Party, which always “consults” with its ultimate boss, the Formidable Rival, eventually ousted him. Now, as the order of things shakes, “consultations” return him to office.

Shaking turns into commotion. The Reformer understands that his compatriots want change. He sides with them, but it is difficult to master the situation. An unruly dialectic plays out between his government and assertive demonstrators. Some rebels assault Party institutions and also attack some not-so-secret members of the secret police. The Formidable Rival’s alarm grows. It decides finally to ensure order—its own. In the chaotic meantime, the Reformer replaces one-party rule with a multi-party government.

As events unfold, the President of the Powerful Country expresses sympathies publicly, but somewhat cautiously and a little awkwardly. His country’s “heart” goes out to the Unhappy Land, he declares. “Fervor and sacrifice . . . in the name of freedom” would, he hopes, bring “real promise that the light of liberty soon will shine again in this darkness.” But he also makes clear that he will make no military moves on behalf of the insurgents. He has no intention of chancing catastrophic war over a small Unhappy Land.

Nonetheless, RFA transmissions are impassioned. Its broadcasters are mostly émigrés from the Unhappy Land. They are often as Manichean as the Secretary of State. They urge on the insurgents and, in contrast to the President, even suggest that Western help will come. Decades later, a political analyst observed that “it was too much to expect” the freedom fighters in the Small Land “to understand the distinction” between the government of the Powerful Country “and the pronouncements of a radio station which had been expressly created as a vehicle for promulgating the ‘liberation’ policy which the Secretary of State had claimed to be his own invention.” While the freedom fighters press on, the Reformer declares the independence of his Unhappy Land from the East Bloc. He appeals to the United Nations, but to little avail.

The Formidable Rival’s troops finish their job. Refugees flee across the borders. The Old Regime is back. The Reformer is executed. “If my life is needed to prove that not all Scientists of Society are enemies of the people,” declares the Reformer on his condemnation, “I gladly make the sacrifice.”

Indigestion dissipates.

Here is our second scenario. It is three and a half decades later. The same Powerful Country goes to war far from its own borders, but in a perennially unstable part of the world. It has reason. An especially Brutal Regime there has occupied a resource-rich Principality. The Powerful Country, whose presence is still felt globally, has an interest in that small realm’s assets.

The Brutal Regime is headed by a megalomaniacal Dictator. He wants the Principality’s resources to help pay for an indecisive and ghastly war he waged for a decade against another bordering state. Matters here are complicated because this Theocratic Neighbor has its own regional objectives as well as intense antipathies, on historical and ideological grounds, toward the Powerful Country of the West. The dislike is mutual and the Powerful Country was undismayed when the Brutal Regime and its Theocratic Neighbor were unable to defeat each other in their war. A useful balance of power resulted.

The Powerful Country doesn’t act precipitously against the Brutal Regime. Its President obtains international approval and fashions a multi-national coalition. Fortune has helped too. His country’s old Formidable Rival, one of the Dictator’s friends, has been enfeebled just recently due to what its outmoded “scientific” ideology had called “internal contradictions.” The President has considerable flexibility as he maneuvers on the international scene. He also obtains legislative backing at home. And so a thirty-member multinational coalition, led by the Powerful Country, expels the Brutal Regime from the Principality. The coalition does not go so far as to raze the Brutal Regime itself. International sanction was given only to undoing its initial aggression. Or, more precisely, to undoing its external aggression, not that which it commits regularly against its own citizens.

Developments now make our scenario increasingly complex, even morally problematic. During the run-up to war, and during some of the fighting, the President and some of his chief aides suggested publicly that rebellion would be a good idea for discontented and persecuted populations within the borders of the Brutal Regime. Vocal seconds came from some coalition allies. The President himself urged the world to recall the 1930s and the price of appeasement. What the Dictator did to the Principality was akin to “what Hitler did to Poland.” Just after the shooting began, an allied prime minister spoke about the Dictator in these terms: “I strongly suspect that he may yet become a target of his own people . . . I, for one, will not weep for him.” A few weeks into the fighting, the President hoped aloud that the Brutal Regime’s citizens might “take matters into their own hands.” His Secretary of State said on television that an end to the war would “be a heck of a lot easier if . . . that leadership were not in power.”

So it was that Oppositionists in the northern and southern territories of the Brutal Regime thought that coalition forces would aid them if they rebelled. There were all these public statements, but also radio broadcasts from the coalition and, or so Oppositionists later said, contacts with the coalition that indicated likewise. Mutiny begins. But no help comes, and the Dictator unleashes his characteristic ferocity. Tens of thousands die. Hundreds of thousands flee toward the borders. Yet the President of the Powerful Country, his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor are loath to intervene. They fear, with reason, that their soldiers will end up in a quagmire, caught in the midst of civil war. They fear, with reason, the daunting task of occupying a tumultuous land. If only the Brutal Dictator were dispatched by one of his own. If only he were replaced by another, more compliant, Strong Man. After all, a counter-balance is still needed to the Theocratic Neighbor.

In the meantime, allies and public opinion grow distressed by television reports showing murderous attacks on hapless refugees who flee to encampments on freezing, mountainous borders. A leading legislator in the Powerful Country observes that “anytime you get into a conflict like this, there are certain obligations that flow from it.” Another declares that his country has “a moral obligation to do what we can” to stop the slaughter of “those who have the courage to resist.” Something, finally, is done in a circumscribed manner. The Dictator is contained, although he is left in power, all while a measure of protection is provided for his victims. The coalition establishes “Shelter Zones.” It does not occupy the ravaged country but uses control of the skies to thwart further attacks. An “umbrella” covers the battered populations in the country’s north and south, at least for the time being.

Hungary, 1956. The Gulf War, 1991. The quotations in the preceding accounts are genuine although the historical narratives have been somewhat streamlined. There are sufficient similarities and differences between the two cases to make their comparison worthwhile. In both, the U.S. signaled friendship for popular rebellion and was then prepared to close its eyes to the consequences. It would be surprising if antagonistic powers did not foment discontent within the other’s domains, yet the moral problem concerns how far this may go. Some political philosophers distinguish jus ad bellum, the justice of going into combat in the first place, from jus in bello, the rightness of this or that action during hostilities. These categories address, traditionally, the ethics of hot wars, but they bring up issues that can apply to a cold one too. Although the Hungarian Rebellion did entail bloodshed, this was, first, a question of jus in bello frigido. Washington did not provoke it, but sought—vocally, loudly—“indigestion” in the East Bloc. Hungarians, of course, had their own purpose. It was to remedy their own predicament, not to serve instrumentally, as an ailment to further the strategic needs of others.

The Kremlin was the principal criminal in 1956. American policy, however, carried a moral burden. The Hungarians became little more than means to an end in Washington’s policy. Richard Nixon, then vice president, remarked a few months before the revolt that it would not be “unmixed evil” were a “Soviet iron fist” to come down hard on an east or central European country. Within days of Hungary’s defeat, the CIA was discussing how best to exploit politically the fleeing refugees. “There was no basis for our giving military aid to Hungary,” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said later. “We had no commitment to do so and we did not think that to do so would either assist the people of Hungary or the people of Europe or the rest of the world.”

If a moral burden comes with the American position, it is confounded by some realistic calculations that turn out to harbor a moral problem too. Had Washington lived up to its own rhetoric and intervened, cold war would have become hot. Hot war meant nuclear war. The consequences would have been by any reckoning vastly disproportionate to the plentiful misery brought to Hungarians by defeat to their revolution.

What was left after the shooting stopped in Budapest? An unjust peace, and little to do about it. Hungarians faced repression and that was “their problem.” Yet when that unjust peace was undone in 1989, the U.S., then under President George H. W. Bush, was adroit and discreet in its public words. Bush thought back to anti-Soviet revolts in our efforts to transform countries like East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1981. “I did not want to encourage a course of events which might turn violent,” he later explained, “and get out of hand and which we then couldn’t— or wouldn’t—support, leaving people stranded on the barricades.” This care fostered peaceful revolution.

The same cannot be said of another part of the world in 1991. Substantial dangers accompanied the Gulf War, yet none compared to nuclear war. The Soviet bloc had unraveled and Moscow, long a chief supporter of Baghdad, sanctioned the UN-blessed, U.S.-led coalition that defeated Saddam. The principal post-war menaces, as seen from Washington, were two-fold. First, there was the danger of a Vietnam-like quagmire if coalition forces occupied the entirety of Iraq instead of restricting themselves to liberating Kuwait. The president and his advisors (rightly) perceived the perils of reconstructing a fractious land that had been held together by pitiless muscle. The second apprehension was that a weak Iraq would be unable to counterbalance Iran. It is one thing to defeat a foe; it is trickier to guarantee simultaneously that the beaten foe can stand up afterward to a third party. The Kurdish and Shiite uprisings complicated all this. “Neither revolt had a chance,” Colin Powell later wrote, “Nor, frankly, was their success a goal of our policy. President Bush’s rhetoric urging Iraqis to overthrow Saddam, however, may have given encouragement to the rebels. But our practical intention was to leave Baghdad enough to survive as a threat to Iran.”

The president insisted later that the U.S. intended only to promote a military coup against Saddam, not a mass response. Yet his own words and those of others belie this contention. Credulity is strained further by Scowcroft’s statement that “we did not expect the severity of the attacks on the Kurds.” For this to be so, we must imagine that the administration knew nothing of the fate of the Kurds in the 1970s or of Saddam’s butchery of tens of thousands of them in 1988. Saddam’s military prowess was contained, but this did not thwart his human rights abuses in areas under his control. Sanctions would cause problems for him, but he would bolster his power at the expense of the rest of his population. This was an unjust peace if ever there was one.

The parallels between Hungary and the Gulf War raise queasy matters. They went unaddressed by the George W. Bush administration in its justifications of war in 2003. Neither were they addressed by the war’s foes, who often seemed more focused on chastising the White House than attending to the fate of people living in Iraq. Did Americans inherit moral burdens because of actions by an American government in 1991? If yes, what could have been reasonably commensurate amends? And what are the implications for 2009?

The answer to the first question must be yes, and this in turn broaches an array of subjects that philosophers and commentators have contested in recent years concerning reparations and statutes of limitations. Some, mostly on the left, have proposed that recompense is due to descendents of slaves or Native Americans or the victims of colonialism. These populations suffer, the argument goes, from wrongs of previous centuries that still impact on lives today. But if you think this is so and recognize also that a great harm was done in 1991, must we not think similarly about Iraqi Kurds and Shiites? Some American pundits chastised the French government for its anti-war position in 2003, on the grounds that the U.S. sacrificed to liberate France during World War II. But Iraqi Kurds and Shiites sacrificed much. They became targets more recently than World War II, after the U.S. and coalition allies suggested publicly, multiple times (and in multiple ways) that they should rebel against a known serial persecutor. Should not the U.S. and its allies have been obligated to help these insurgents?

One could contend with considerable justification that there was a similar burden in the Hungarian case. As we know, there was a mitigating factor that would have prevented American intervention, and this was because it would have created a greater moral burden: nuclear war. This political and moral conflict between two principles—avoiding the massive deaths that would have accompanied nuclear exchanges and helping a population that the U.S. encouraged to rebel—was not present in the Gulf War. Yet the failure (at first) to help the Kurds and Shiites cannot by itself qualify the Gulf War as unjust for a simple reason. Kuwait was freed. There was jus ad bellum for some, but not for others because of flawed jus in bello. The ensuing peace was just for Kuwaitis, unjust for the Kurds and Shiites. What, then, could have been amends? Coalition participants created safe havens and no-fly zones, but this was a humanitarian duty and provided, at best, provisional protection. It did not secure self-determination for the victims; it left them dependent on the outside world and in perpetual vulnerability. Consider policy twists by one coalition ally. France pressed at the war’s end to protect the Kurds. Six years later, after Jacques Chirac succeeded François Mitterrand as president, Paris suspended its role safeguarding them and limited its role shielding the Shiites. This was because American missiles were launched against Baghdad without consulting Paris. But neither were Kurds and Shiites consulted; the French move demonstrates precisely why the Gulf War’s end was an unjust peace.

Some philosophers, as far back as Aristotle, argue that rectification of injustice ought to entail the return of an injured party to pre-harm circumstances. In the Iraqi case this, obviously, would have been senseless since it would mean delivering Kurds and Shiites to foreseeable slaughter. Still, their basic life circumstances could have been transformed. This, of course, presumes that Kurds and Shiites, for whatever their internal differences, ought to have each been considered as collectivities, rather than solely as individuals who suffered. Indeed, they were not targeted by Saddam as rebelling individuals but as rebelling Kurds and Shiites. Nor were coalition calls to rebel directed toward individuals.

So how could amends commensurate to the harm have meant something less than freeing Kurds and Shiites from the ongoing menace of Saddam’s regime, which is to say ending it? This might be construed as an argument for the war that began in 2003. It is not. Scowcroft is right; one’s view of the war’s launch is a separate question from what should or should not be done now. All the more so because one potent argument against the war was that Bush II would not conduct it properly. This seems irrefutable now. If opting for war carries more ethical liability than almost any other political choice, the inability to conduct a war properly speaks decisively against entering it. Yet this last point also fails to address unjust peace and why it was unjust. We are left in a messy overlap of realism and idealism, with contradictory demands and lessons.

One lesson is obvious: leaders need to be wary of calling on other peoples to take perilous actions. Consider the justification given often by the Bush I team about 1991—that their exhortations or suggestions were misunderstood by Kurds and Shiites. Recall the words ascribed to Henry II within the hearing of his knights in 1170: “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” The knights went on to murder Thomas Becket. The King repented but didn’t also explain that the word “Who” was ambiguous, the phrase “rid me” misconstrued, and that actually another option had been suggested against the priest.

It is not evident the lessons of 1956 and 1991 have been learned. Senator John McCain, then the presumptive Republican nominee for president, apparently called Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during last summer’s violent wrangle with Russia and told him, “Hang in there . . . We are not going to let this happen . . . We are doing everything we can to stop this aggression.” Although this statement addressed a leader in private and not a citizenry in public, it raises the same kind of problem. There were very limited things the United States could or was willing to do either for the president or the population of Georgia, just as there were few actions the United States would take on behalf of Hungary.

The ethical quandary concerns the instrumental use of others in wartime. On one level, instrumentality is intrinsic to war—even your own troops count as tools. A government might justify instrumental use of a foreign people if, balancing out other possibilities, it is likely to help thwart a military catastrophe with especially dark consequences. The opposite would have been the result had the U.S. intervened in Hungary; nuclear war would have produced the darkest of consequences. This was not the case in Iraq. Even if coalition casualties might have been lessened due to revolts within Iraq, there was no danger that the coalition would have lost the war absent the uprisings. And the uprisings encompassed, unavoidably and predictably, civilian populations. Both the American president and the British prime minister appealed to the Iraqi citizenry; it was for more than indigestion in Baghdad. It was for the sort of upheaval that would place the rebels and their surrounding populations at massive risk. It is this massive and foreseeable jeopardy that makes such instrumentalism wrong.

It also points us to two ideas that might regulate the instrumental use of foreign peoples during a war, cold or hot. The first is simple: you must make the limits of your own commitments apparent to them. The U.S. posture was easily misconstrued in the Hungarian case. The president stated plainly that the U.S. would not intervene militarily, but other remarks, especially public statements by his secretary of state over several years, and broadcasts from Radio Free Europe, could easily have led Hungarians to expect otherwise. In the midst of a hot war, Iraq in 1991, American and British leaders encouraged rebellion, as we have seen. Hence a second principle: it should only be permissible to rouse foreign populations to behavior that is likely to place them in life-threatening circumstances if you stand also ready to act as if they were your allies.

When the Iraqi military fought American, French, British, Syrian, Saudi, and the other soldiers of the thirty-odd coalition partners in 1991, all these anti-Saddam forces were obligated as allies to aid each other. When Israel, a non-coalition ally of the United States, was attacked by Saddam’s missiles, Washington asked Jerusalem not to retaliate and came to its assistance. This was clearly the right thing to do and not just for utilitarian reasons; the U.S. asked a non-coalition ally to suffer assault for the sake of U.S. interests. Why, then, ought there not to have been military support for populations in Iraq that rose up against Saddam’s regime at U.S. bidding and then suffered attack? Why should they not have been treated immediately as if they were coalition allies?

The implications extend beyond 1991. The U.S. cannot treat the circumstances of Iraqis as simply “their problem.” All this points to the need for an international effort to secure the future of Iraq’s citizens through whatever difficult transitions may come in the next years. Colin Powell said of Iraq, “If you break it, you own it.” He meant that if you bring down a regime, you have the responsibility to govern its territory. The U.S. didn’t exactly break Iraq (our media ought to talk a little about what Saddam did at Abu Ghraib before America’s wretched record there); and we do not own it. We do have a moral burden. Iraqis have a Shiite-dominated government in what may be deceptively calming circumstances brought by the American surge. The world is still uncertain for the Kurds, even if they have, arguably, the best circumstances in memory. Still, we cannot contend simply that the U.S. must “get out quickly” or that “we must stay.” We need some complex thinking, moral and practical, about a situation that is as knotty as can be. We helped to make it, not just in 2003 but in 1991.

My accounts of Hungary and Iraq draw from and are indebted to numerous government, journalistic, and scholarly sources. Among them are: Charles Gati, Failed Illusions: Moscow, Washington, Budapest, and the 1956 Hungarian Revolt (Washington, D.C./Stanford, CA: Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, 2006); Johanna C. Granville, The First Domino: International Decision Making during the Hungarian Crisis of 1956 (College Station: Texas A & M University, 2004); Victor Sebestyen, Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (New York: Pantheon, 2006); Nicholas J. Wheeler, Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2000); Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-91 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993); Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, The Generals’ War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (New York: Little Brown, 1995); Christian Alfonsi, Circle in the Sand (New York: Doubleday, 2006). Note that the historical “Reformer” (Imre Nagy) in the “Unhappy Land” said “Communists,” not “Scientists of Society,” when he was condemned.

Mitchell Cohen is co-editor of Dissent magazine and a professor of political science at Bernard Baruch College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York.

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